Major companies such as Microsoft are ranking diversity as a high priority when hiring outside legal teams, and there are signs that some Big Law firms have come become more inclusive when it comes to the LGBT community. But how much change has there really been in terms of the representation of lawyers who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender?

Most of the 130 firms that responded to the survey consistently in each of the past four years are in the Am Law 200, and they include giants like Latham & Watkins and DLA Piper, as well as Fenwick & West, Stroock & Stroock & Lavan and other firms with somewhat smaller footprints. The numbers suggest not only a steady increase in the aggregate number of attorneys who identify as LGBT at these firms, but that the growth in LGBT attorneys is outpacing overall law firm headcount growth.

The firm reporting the highest percentage of LGBT attorneys among its ranks in the most recent survey was Patterson Belknap Webb & Tyler. The New York-headquartered firm had 174 attorneys last year, 17 of whom identified as LGBT, including five partners.

The firm with the largest LGBT community overall, according to the survey results, was Latham & Watkins; it counted over 1600 lawyers in the U.S. last year, 68 of whom identified as LGBT, including 12 of its roughly 680 partners.

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About the methodology: Figures in the above chart reflect self-reported staffing counts from 130 large law firms that responded for each year. All attorney counts are average full-time-equivalent for the year, and data is for U.S. offices only.


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